Carmichael Lynch’s Joe Germscheid on Telling a Creative Brand Story


Joe Germscheid is the Director of Consumer Engagement and a Senior Partner at Carmichael Lynch. Carmichael Lynch is a creative firm centered in Minnesota existing for one simple reason: “to transform, instigate, rally and delight – all to put our clients not just top-of-mind, but deep in hearts.” The Makegood recently spoke with Joe about some of his company’s latest works and the importance of creativity in the industry.

The Makegood: You recently worked with Hulu on their creation of “The Awesome’s” sponsored by Jack Link’s Beef Jerky. Can you talk about how you helped facilitate that deal and how it came together?

Our Jack Link’s target audience is notoriously difficult to reach (young men).  They view content how they want, when they want.  We set out to find a unique video partnership that would bring value to the audience and go beyond standard commercial messages.  Hulu’s original program, The Awesomes gave us a terrific combination of first-run buzz worthy content, a distribution platform our audience already uses and creative flexibility to break through for the brand.  The project was a great collaboration between Hulu sales, the producers of the show and, of course, Jack Link’s.  Carmichael Lynch’s Consumer Engagement team acted as the connection that introduced the content and the brand.  We helped Hulu bring the project to life with a sponsor that was willing to take a risk.  The show producers saw a great opportunity to bring context to a sponsorship.  It was a win all around.  For me, this is what the future of media planning is really about: Finding and creating content that’s right for the brand.

The Makegood: On-Demand streaming services have been producing and running their own original content a lot lately. Can you talk about how this has become an opportunity for brands to reach consumers in different ways?

Being able to stream content whenever we want is awesome.  Pretty much everything is available if you work the subscriptions right. Except for sports, most of us don’t need to make time to watch live TV anymore.  This is especially true for younger consumers.  Many of them don’t even bother setting up cable or satellite TV relationships any longer.

The big issue facing traditional TV advertisers is how some of the new streaming services treat traditional commercials.  To put it bluntly, some just don’t see advertising playing a role.  Streaming services without commercials may be the exception today, but their hours of content streamed cannot be ignored.  Brand storytelling will need to take more of a collaborative approach with the producers and distributors of new content.  Some of the ways we reach people through brand storytelling may not be new, but they are important nonetheless.  Product integrations, sponsorships and product vignettes are well known methods.  Social chatter, extended scenes and privileged access are a few other ideas.  There are sure to be many more methods we haven’t tested yet but are sure to be valuable to brands in the near future.  Commercials and other interruptive messaging will not go away.  We’ll need to adapt and cooperate to make sure our messages get consumed in engaging and meaningful ways.  Our clients and our business depend on it.

The Makegood: One of your more recent partnerships has been with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, “Tweet, or This Plant Dies,” initiative. How important is social media going to be in your future campaigns? Why did you decide to use Twitter for this specific client?

Social media allows us all to be storytellers.  After personal conversation, social media is the next best way to talk about all the great content we’ve all been consuming.  When we align our brands with great content, we hope the chatter will extend to the brands that help make the content possible.  Or, sometimes our brand content is buzz worthy and everyone loves the double dip that social media coverage gets.  As long as we can be creative about sponsoring and making great stories, we’ll be using social media to help get mileage from our campaigns.

Sometimes social is the campaign, as is the case with the Denver Museum of Science.  The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a great client and a terrific teaching and learning organization.  Museums have always been leaders in interactive learning.  Using Twitter as the engagement device for the Museum is a super cool way to extend the Mythbuster event to those of us not able to visit the exhibit. The idea has received great support and the experiment seems to actually be working!  Keep the plant growing at!

The Makegood: Your Carmichael Collective is yet another example of the creativity of your staff. Can you explain the project’s goals and what your experience with it has been? Has it helped bring in any new business?

 The Collective is creativity, period.  It’s ideas come from anywhere in the agency, and it’s all done for us to test, learn and play with new ideas, media platforms and audiences.  It allows us to bring that learning to client business later.  Plus, we get to share the art and ideas with our community.

The Makegood: As big data becomes more and more important in segmenting and targeting potential consumers, how will you be able to integrate analytics into your work while not losing the creative edge you have on other agencies?

Analytics is a practice that helps us verify and find more creative ways to reach consumers.  Analytics and creativity are never either/or propositions.  They are partners in campaign development.  At Carmichael Lynch, our version of analytics is creative.  It takes a very special skill set to use analytics to enhance brand stories.  Having analytics work together with strategy, creative and media is a staple in full service agencies like ours.  It is our creative edge.

The Makegood: Thank you, Joe